Business Ideas, Retail

Buy and Sell Firewood

Firewood is a multi-million rand business in South Africa and many of the players are small businesses. Start your own business buying and selling firewood.

An example of how it works
There is usually a farmer that grows the trees on hectares of land, the farmer then gives permission to various smaller cutters to cut down the trees and charges them a fee. These cutters then sells the wood in bulk to resellers usually ~10000 pieces at a time, these resellers then sell it 1000 pieces at a time (or sometimes they say something like “by the bakkie load”), either to the end user or sometimes to people that will resell them in even smaller quantities (bags of 20 pieces). All this I mentioned vary place to place sometimes the farmer cuts and sell directly and sometimes the quantity sold varies. But it gives you an indication of how the industry works.

Now where you fit in will depend on various factors, how much capital do you have? Do you have a secure space to store the firewood while keeping it dry? Do you own a bakkie that you can sell it directly off of? The closer you can get to the source the more capital you’ll need, the more space you’ll need to store the wood but the less you’ll pay and the more profit you’ll make.

Starting out the most lucrative place to position yourself in the firewood business is to sell the wood say 100 pieces at a time directly to affluent home owners with fire places, but you will need to have a delivery service but this place in the market is the most lucrative for the someone just entering.

With the above option you can just buy a bakkie load at a time and resell it to five and ten different home owners, at night if you still have stock left pull into your garage and cover it. Remember people use firewood for braaing, fireplace (to keep warm) and for pizza ovens so there is quite some demand.

The other option starting out is to buy smaller quantities and put the wood in smaller bags and resell it. Many garages and shops already have their suppliers so you are going to have to find somewhere to sell it.

The firewood business is something that can be started with little expertise and has return customers but it is advised that you familiarise yourself with the different types of wood and what they are worth (for example Rooikrans sells for almost twice the price of Blue gum). Other types include  Sekelbos, Black Wattle, Kameeldoring, Myrtle, Mopane etc. If you want to you can even sell “eco wood” which is logs made from grape seed or heat logs made from saw dust for people who are into sustainable living.

How to Start a Buying & Selling Business in South Africa

A buying and selling business is one of the easiest businesses to get into; it requires little skill (besides basic mathematics) and can be started with very little capital. There are two underlying components to a successful buying and selling business: 1.


You have a business idea, where to next?
How to Start a Business from Business Idea

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